Devon Wildlife Trust A hardy little plant, the Primrose can flower from as early as December in mild years, appearing all the way through the spring until May. It favours woodland clearings, hedgerows and grassland habitats, and sometimes even gardens. Primroses are the food plant of the caterpillars of the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly, which is a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Since Victorian times, April 19th has been known as 'Primrose Day' in honour of the late Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; Primroses, his favourite flowers, are placed at his statue in Westminster Abbey and his grave at Hughenden in Buckinghamshire.

How to identify

Primroses are low-growing plants with rough, tongue-like leaves that grow in a rosette. Their flowers are large and creamy, with deep yellow centres, and often appear clustered together.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/primrose 

Devon Wildlife Trust Perhaps the first sign that spring is just around the corner is the snowdrop poking its way through the frosted soil of a woodland, churchyard or garden. From January, look for its famous nodding, white flowers.

The snowdrop is a familiar spring flower, coming into bloom in January and flowering until March. Despite its long history in the UK, however, it may not actually be native here; it is a native of damp woods and meadows on the continent, but was not recorded as growing wild in the UK until the late 18th century. Nevertheless, it has certainly become naturalised from garden escapees, and white snowdrop 'valleys' can now be seen across the country.

How to identify

The snowdrop displays nodding, white flowers, each carried on a single stem. The narrow, grey-green leaves appear around the base of the stem. Snowdrop plants often form clumps.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/snowdrop  

Devon Wildlife Trust The White-clawed crayfish is a freshwater, bronze-coloured crustacean with pale undersides to its claws - hence the name. It is under threat from an invasive and introduced species of crayfish.

As the UK's only native freshwater crayfish, the White-clawed crayfish is in decline due to the introduction of the non-native North American signal crayfish. This invasive species has brought disease to which our indigenous crayfish has no natural resistance. An omnivorous crustacean, the White-clawed crayfish eats invertebrates, carrion, water plants and dead organic matter. It inhabits small freshwater streams of a depth less than 1 metre, hiding underneath stones and rocks and in small crevices where they forage for food.

How to Identify

The White-clawed crayfish is small and bronze-coloured, with pale cream or rose undersides on its claws.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/invertebrates/crustacea-centipedes-and-millipedes/white-clawed-crayfish 

Devon Wildlife Trust A common and familiar bird, the pied wagtail is often seen in towns and cities, dashing across lawns, roads and car parks while wagging its long tail up and down. Pied wagtails eat insects, but will feed on seeds and even rubbish in winter. They flock together at warm roost sites like reedbeds and sewage works or trees and bushes in city centres. In summer, they defend breeding territories and will nest in ivy, under roofs, in walls, between stones ... in all kinds of places!

How to Identify

The pied wagtail is a familiar black-and-white bird, with a white face, white belly and white bars on the wings. The other two breeding species of wagtail in the UK both have yellow underparts.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/larks-sparrows-wagtails-and-dunnock/pied-wagtail

Devon Wildlife Trust The much-loved robin is a garden favourite and one of our most familiar birds, adorning Christmas cards every year. It is very territorial, however, and will defend its post with surprising ferocity.

The robin is one of the most familiar birds of the UK, regularly visiting gardens. Robins are also common in parks, scrub and woodland, making their presence known with a loud, territorial song. They sing from prominent perches right through the winter, when both males and females hold territories; indeed, they are fiercely territorial, driving off intruders and even fighting. During the breeding season, the female is allowed into the male's territory where she sets up a nest of dead leaves, moss and hair. Nests often crop up in the oddest of places, such as plant pots, old wellies and shelves, but Ivy and other shrubs are their natural choice.

How to Identify

The robin really is unmistakeable: brown above, with a white belly and a famously red breast. Young robins are mottled gold and brown, and do not have a red breast.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/thrushes-chats-flycatchers-starling-dipper-and-wren/robin 

Devon Wildlife Trust Often spotted in large flocks, the fieldfare is an attractive thrush. It is a winter visitor, enjoying the feast of seasonal berries the UK's hedgerows, woodlands and parks have to offer.

The fieldfare is a large, colourful thrush that visits the UK in the winter to feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, woodlands and parks. Fieldfares are sociable birds and can be seen in flocks of more than 200 birds roaming through the countryside. They often venture into gardens when there is snow cover or if it is a severe winter.

How to Identify

The fieldfare has a chestnut-brown back and yellowy breast, streaked with black. It has a black tail, dark wings and pale grey rump and head. It is a little smaller than the similar-looking mistle thrush, but quite distinctive.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/thrushes-chats-flycatchers-starling-dipper-and-wren/fieldfare 

Devon Wildlife Trust A slim, tit-sized bird, the treecreeper has a long, pointed tail and a fine, downwards-curved bill. Treecreepers climb up trees in a spiral around the trunk, feeding on insects and spiders that they find in crevices in the bark. They have long, curved toes that help them cling to the bark, and really stiff tail feathers that they can push against the tree for extra support.

They are residents in the UK, leaving their breeding territories in autumn, but usually going no further than a few kilometres. In autumn and winter, treecreepers often join flocks of tits, roaming woodlands and parks for food.

How to Identify

The treecreeper is white below and mottled brown above, helping it camouflage against the bark of trees. It has a white eyestripe and a long, downcurved bill.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/thrushes-chats-flycatchers-starling-dipper-and-wren/treecreeper 

Devon Wildlife Trust The spoonbill is a relative of the ibises, a group of long-legged birds with curved bills. Almost as big as a grey heron, the spoonbill feeds on shrimps and other aquatic invertebrates which it catches while sweeping its bizarre, spoon-shaped bill from side to side in the water. Seen most regularly in Britain at coastal sites in the east and south-west, it mainly breeds in southern Europe and North Africa and as far east as India and China. In recent years breeding birds have become established in England.

How to Identify

A tall, white bird, the spoonbill is easily recognised by its long, black, spoon-shaped bill. During the breeding season, adults develop some yellow on their bill tip and breast along with a crest of white feathers.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/herons-egrets-and-spoonbill/european-spoonbill 

Devon Wildlife Trust There are numerous species of Sphagnum Moss that look very similar, so are usually grouped together as 'Sphagnum' for easy description. These 'Bog-mosses' form the amazingly multi-coloured, 'living carpets' found in wet places like peat bogs, marshland, heath and moorland. They grow from spores that are produced in fruiting bodies called capsules. When seen up close, they are very beautiful, but they also play an important role in the creation and continuation of peat bogs. They hold water in their spongy forms long after the surrounding soil has dried out, providing essential nutrients and helping to prevent the decay of dead plant material. It is this organic matter that gets compressed over hundreds of years to form peat.

How to Identify

There are at least ten species of Sphagnum Moss in the UK, which are very difficult to tell apart. These species range in colour from red and pink, to orange and green. Sphagnum Moss plants are very small, but they grow closely together, forming spongy carpets; 'hummocks' are even created when the mosses grow to form large mounds up to a metre high.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/mosses-and-liverworts/sphagnum-moss 

Devon Wildlife Trust Himalayan balsam was introduced as a garden plant in 1839, but soon escaped and became widely naturalised along riverbanks and ditches, especially close to towns. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly, invading wet habitat at the expense of other, native flowers. Its explosive seed pods aid its spread by sending the seeds into the river, causing further dispersal downstream.
Our largest annual plant, it flowers from July to October.

How to identify

Himalayan balsam has large, pink flowers shaped like a bonnet; these are followed by hanging, green seed pods.

https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/himalayan-balsam

This species is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales therefore, it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.

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